Yesterday, Mitt Romney’s spokesperson Andrea Saul created an uproar when she touted Romneycare while pushing back against an Obama-allied super PAC’s “Romney killed my wife with cancer” ad. A lot of conservatives piled on Saul, with Ann Coulter calling for her to be fired. Matt Lewis wrote a broader post questioning Romney’s personnel choices, and noting that Saul once worked for Charlie Crist, a perch from which she attacked Marco Rubio. Though I also wrote that it was a big blunder for Saul to cite Romneycare in the way she did, I can’t really blame Romney’s problems on her or anybody else on his team. The problems all come back to Romney himself.
The bottom line is that Romney was a moderate to liberal governor of Massachusetts, and had to adopt conservative positions that he isn’t entirely comfortable with to win the Republican nomination, health care being the most prominent example. Having to defend Romneycare while excoriating Obamacare isn’t an easy position to maintain, so I’m sympathetic to Saul. All she did was tout her candidate’s signature achievement as an elected official. It’s only considered a gaffe because Romney’s health care position is so hard to reconcile.
To be sure, Romney may still win the campaign, because President Obama is quite vulnerable to attack on many fronts. But should Romney lose, conservatives shouldn’t blame his staff. All his problems are attributable to his inherent weaknesses as a candidate.